10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Blogging

10 Things I’ve Learned in 10 Years of Blogging
Carly Jacobs

Monday was a weird day for me. I woke up and realised I’d be blogging for ten years.

Ten bloody years.

I’ve blogged 3 to 5 times per week that entire time. I even had a month where I posted twice a day. That was horrible. I won’t be doing that again. That was back in 2011 when short, sharp and frequent blog posts were ruling Google. Thank god those days are gone.

It was September 4th in 2007 when I hit publish on my first blog post. I had a pretty boring job at the time and if I slammed through my work quickly enough I often had an hour or two per day that I would just spend dicking around on the internet. One day Mr Smaggle sent me a link to Susie Bubble that he found on Cool Hunting. I had no idea blogs were even things and when I found Susie’s blog, and I promptly I devoured the whole thing.

I was obsessed. I told Mr Smaggle all about her. She worked in digital marketing in London and she wore really cool, weird outfits. I knew that she loved dumplings and that her favourite store was called Uniqlo and they had socks in every colour of the rainbow. Mr Smaggle suggested I start my own blog. He said ‘You’re into clothes and stuff – you could totally do that.’ 

He bought me the domain www.smagglestyle.com, set up a simple theme and I blogged every single day for the whole month of September and then I set the blog live. I just wanted to make sure I could stick to it before I went public. A month later we sniped the domain www.smaggle.com when the person who owned it let it lapse and I’ve been there ever since.

My blog is so old that I grew my initial following on Flickr by joining outfit sharing forums. My favourite was wardrobe_remix and it was about remixing vintage clothing. I had a blog before I joined Facebook, if you can believe it. Back in the day, I used to communicate with other bloggers by commenting on pretty much every blog post they did. That was the way we did it back then, you couldn’t shoot them a quick message on Instagram because it didn’t exist.

Blogging is easily the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s given me the most amazing opportunities and opened up my future in a big and scary way. I’ve travelled the world because of my blog and met some extraordinary people. I’ve managed to turn this blog into a career and work for myself full time which is an actual dream come true.

It’s not all easy though. Google can be a giant bastard and social media platforms piss me off daily. I upset people sometimes and that makes me feel like shit. It usually works itself out but when you’re a bit cheeky like I am, people can misinterpret what I mean. Also, I’ve written over 2000 blog posts on Smaggle and sometimes I just write stupid shit. It happens.

I think blogging has made me a better human though. A better communicator. It’s made me really think about what I put out there on internet and how my words can (and do) affect other people. That’s a really important thing to be aware of I think.

Smaggle has been through a few re-brands over the years. It used to purely be a fashion blog but then it morphed into a lifestyle blog but it’s always been a place to chat about cool shit, have a laugh and hang out with awesome people. That hasn’t changed in 10 years and I doubt it ever will

To celebrate this (frankly mind blowing) occasion, I’ve put together a list of 10 Things I’ve Learned In 10 Years of Blogging…

1. You have to love it 

If I didn’t love Smaggle, I would have stopped blogging after that very first month. When you boil down exactly why I love Smaggle and why I’ve done it for so long, it’s because I love a chat. That’s why I end every post in a question, that’s why I start conversations on Facebook every day and that’s why I reply to every single comment. Conversation is what makes people question the status quo, it brings joy to our lives and it makes us learn important things. No matter what form Smaggle has been in or what form it will be in the future, it will always be a virtual chat over a glass of wine. That’s Smaggle.

2. Not everyone will like you… in fact some people will fucking hate you 

For every person who’s told me that they save Smaggle posts to read with their morning tea, there’s ten other people who think I’m scum and aren’t afraid to tell me that. If I’ve crossed the line in some way, I will always apologise. Always. If someone just has their undies in a bunch, I don’t waste my time conversing with them. Obviously I’d love it if everyone just adored me but sadly that’s the not the way it goes and you have to be prepared to deal with it… almost every day.

3. Most people are excellent 

The people that show up here, every day to read my posts are the most brilliant people in the world. My readers are smart, funny and into all the same things as me. It’s rad. You guys rock. For real. Every time someone emails me something lovely, stops me in the street to say hello or tells a friend about my blog it actually makes my heart beat faster. I have crushes on all of you. You all get roses! No crying in limousines for my readers.

4. You must find your strengths and play to them 

Most bloggers position themselves as leaders, which is how blogging works, really. The most successful bloggers have mad fans. Mad fans that buy everything they sell and follow their advice as if they were getting personal calls from Oprah. That’s never really been my shtick. I’m more of a conversation facilitator than a leader. I’m a work in progress and so is everyone and we’re all desperate to talk about it. To find out what other people are doing, how that’s working and to get some new ideas about what to try. When I’m writing, I picture myself sitting on a picnic blanket with my readers, not on stage with a microphone. The microphone style of blogging is ace, don’t get me wrong but it doesn’t work for me. I’m not black and white enough about anything to have a dogmatic approach in my writing. It’s 100% a two way street at Smaggle.

5. Adapt, adapt, adapt  

Back in the day I used to just hit publish on a blog post and heaps of people would read it without me even trying. For real, people would just be like ‘Oh I think I’ll read Smaggle today!’ and just type my blog into their search bar. How bizarre is that? With every new social media platform launch, Google algorithm change and shadow ban I’ve had to figure out how to reach and re-reach my audience. You need to skill up, otherwise you get left behind.

 

Wearing 

Dress from Country Road 

Wool wrap from Alistair Trung

Shoes by Swedish Hasbeens 

 

6. Be consistent 

Consistency is the key to everything but it’s such a boring and unsexy solution, people tend to ignore it. Saving money, losing weight, succeeding in your career, mastering a new skill. It’s all about consistency. I’m very lucky that blogging is my job but I’m not funnier, more talented or better looking than people who don’t get to do this for a living, the difference is that I’m consistent and have been for a decade. Consistency is so achievable, it’s almost a disappointing catalyst for success but that’s it. Like when someone loses a lot of weight and you go ‘Wow! HOW did you do it?’ and they say ‘Diet and exercise… forever and ever’ and you’re super disappointed because you wanted there to be a magical solution that didn’t require stopping eating and drinking wine. Consistency. It’s boring but it works.

7. Realise that your blog will never be perfect 

Ever. It will never be done, it will never look the way you want it to look, your photos will never be perfect and there will never be a time when everything is in ultimate running order. You also never ‘finish’ blogging, it just keeps on happening. If you want to blog or you currently blog just be warned that blogging is like doing an assignment that never ends. Ever. Are you terrified yet?

8. Focus on your intentions 

My intentions with Smaggle has always been to curate the stupid amount of information available on the internet and condense it into edible, easy to read chunks and have a good old natter about my findings. Smaggle is a big mish mash of stuff. Sometimes I write about fashion, sometimes it’s productivity, there’s some health in there and food. I write about my childhood, my weight struggles, what TV shows I’m watching. Basically all the stuff I talk to my mates about. Sometimes I’ll get ants in my pants and I’ll want to change the direction of Smaggle and then I have to remind myself that Smaggle is about helping people win at life and sharing all of our very best tips and tricks. As longs as I focus on that, I can’t really go wrong.

9. Focus on your readers 

When my blog was a pure style blog, it was very centred around me, which I didn’t love. That’s why I changed it to be a lifestyle blog and it’s best thing I ever did for Smaggle. I can share recipes, exercise tips, cool organisation stuff I’ve discovered and my readers do the same thing. In each post, I always make sure theres’s something in it for my readers. A laugh, a dinner idea, a tip to help them sleep better or a reminder that they really are doing okay.

10. Remember why you started 

I started blogging because I wanted to be a part of the conversation but I also wanted to start my own conversations. When I get a mean comment, or I’m having a bad day with a client I remember how much I love my little internet crew and it makes everything better again.

On that note, I’d love to know a little bit more about you…

What’s your name?

Where are you from?

How did you find Smaggle?

What’s your favourite dance floor song?

Also, tell me… how long have you been reading Smaggle?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.

P.P.S Thank you for reading my blog. It really does mean more to me than you could ever know. x

34 Comments

  1. Kate Macfadyen 2 weeks ago

    Interesting post. I’ve never managed to keep up a blog for long but I do enjoy reading other people’s, and it’s interesting to see what sort of thought processes go into a successful one.

    What’s your name? – Technically it’s Catherine but as you can see by my username, everyone calls me Kate.

    Where are you from? – from Leicester in the English Midlands, now living in Devon (South-West England).

    How did you find Smaggle? – I remembered you from wardrobe_remix. I was looking back on some old pictures fairly recently and spotted the link to your blog, started reading and almost immediately decided it was worth following.

    What’s your favourite dance floor song? – Although my usual kind of music is rock and blues, two songs that will usually get me up and dancing are “Reach” by S Club 7 and “Freedom” by Wham!.

    • carlyjacobs 2 weeks ago

      Oh wow! I even mentioned wardrobe_remix in the comments! Wham will also get me on the dance floor. Every time!

  2. Hannah 2 weeks ago

    Name : Hannah

    From : Central Florida, USA

    Found Smaggle : I found Smaggle completely by accident a few years ago and have been a faithful reader ever since. I can’t even remember how I stumbled here or what the post was about, but I bookmarked you and check in almost every day to see what’s new.

    Dance Floor Song : Still loving the Cupid Shuffle, to be honest, and Uptown Funk has not gotten old yet either.

    Great post. I agree with all your points. I’ve been blogging almost 3 years now, and it’s just fun. 🙂

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      That’s so lovely – I’m always so curious about how people find me. And lord yes on Uptown Funk. I will clear a dance for for Uptown Funk.

  3. Mari 2 weeks ago

    Congrats on your 10 yr anniversary! I am Mari from Finland, found you via Straight & Curly quite recently, will dance to almost anything but definitively to Iron Maiden’s The Trooper. I don ‘ t have it in me to blog, but I love following blogs and try to get better in contributing comments instead of just consuming. Here’ s to the next ten years of Smaggle!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Thanks Mari – It’s funny how many new readers I have now because of Straight & Curly! 🙂

  4. Jo 2 weeks ago

    Hi!

    My name is Jo & I live in rural Queensland.

    I’ve been following since I think about 2008. I read an article about Smaggle (?Cleo ?Cosmo) that led me to the blog. And I’ve been hanging round ever since!

    Not sure re dance floor song – anything late 90s early 00s generally makes my teenage heart sing!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Oh wow that was so long ago! I was wondering if anyone found my blog that way! 🙂

  5. naetori 2 weeks ago

    You’re adorable. I think the mark of a great blogger is that I wish I could be friends with them. The litmus test of bloggers.

    What’s your name? Renee

    Where are you from? outer (and I mean outer) Melbourne, but lives permanently in Canberra, and temporarily in Tonga

    How did you find Smaggle? mindless internet browsing LOL

    What’s your favourite dance floor song? Gasolina (pure trashbag)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      That’s an excellent blogger litmus test. We’re so similar – I’m a Canberra kid living in Melbourne!

  6. Missy D 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations on 10 years! Massive achievement. 🙂

    I don’t know why people who don’t like something on the internet need to leave nasty messages… just move on and read something you do like. It’s not like you’re making a political statement, this is your space to blog.

    Hahaha, I also liked your comment about how people used to just type your address into the browser – I still do that! Even though I use feedly, I know when your blog gets updated so that’s part of my morning routine now over coffee. 🙂

    I found you through Yes and Yes blog – I think Sarah posted about how she came to Australia and stayed with you or something and I thought, oh cool, imagine a network of people you could just stay with internationally. So I followed links to Smaggle and never left.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Oh yeah that was years ago – love Sarah. We teach blogging together now for Secret Bloggers Business!

  7. Lisa Fourman 2 weeks ago

    I found you on Facebook a few months back (can’t remember exactly when or why) and have been reading posts since. I also tend to comment something on every post, no matter what it’s about. I’ve felt led to do that for the past month or so, though I couldn’t explain why. Your blog posts are awesome and I love reading them!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      That’s so lovely of you thank you – it doesn’t go unnoticed. It’s very lovely when people take the time to comment on my blog and I really appreciate it!

  8. Katy Hunt 2 weeks ago

    Fantastic. no idea how i found you. Tend to read your blogs from fb links . I dont tend to agree with your fashion style, but love your writing style , which is much more important ?

  9. Happy Blogiversary! I wrote this nice big long reply answering all your questions and then it disappeared. I love technology. So we will just leave it at that and this: I think you’re rad! 10 years is awesome. I hope it keeps on working for you. ???

  10. Kelly 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations on 10 years of blogging. That is massive. Being able to do something for 10 years is beyond committed. I can’t remember exactly how I found your blog but I think it was early on from Styling You when you were doing more outfit posting. I am from and still live in the very lovely sunny Brisbane (in 2 months time I will however be whinging how bloody hot it is) and dance floor song – rad 80’s songs always seem to work.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Always the 80s. Gets me every time. I couldn’t live in Brisbane. Way too hot for me. I’m a winter baby through and through.

  11. Natasha 2 weeks ago

    Natasha, from New Zealand and I think I’ve been following the blog for the best part of those ten years, back in the days when the Australasian blogosphere was positively tiny!

    It’s definitely changed so much in that past decade; something I reflected on last year when I stopped blogging… not because of the negative aspects of the community as such but because my life was expanding in such a way that I couldn’t give it the time it deserved. And I’m totally a “Balls to the wall or not at all” person!

    Favourite dance floor song? Nothing beats “Why does love do this to me?” hollered at the top of your lungs although recently I was in a bar where the whole dance floor yelled out “Who the F&)k is Alice” like a Year 7 school disco and that was freaking amazing ?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      It was SO TINY back then. I’m still friends with most of my buddies from back then. Fat Mum Slim was my first blogging buddy and we’re still mates now.

  12. Nic Makim 2 weeks ago

    Thats incredible! 10 years of blogging! Congratulations!!!!!!! Nic Makim, Sunshine Coast, Jump/Van Halen. I found you through Facebook…. totally dig your shit/resonate totally with what you’re saying! I’m soo cheeky/social media platforms + algorithms piss me off more than daily and Google….well, that’s not even printable how I feel. But I love blogging. Thank you! Like I seriously mean THANK YOU for your honesty! I LOVE honesty! Please keep doing your do xx

  13. nessbow 2 weeks ago

    10 whole years? That deserves a glass of wine for sure!
    I’m Vanessa, I’m from Benalla in Victoria and I’ve been reading Smaggle since 2009. Yours was one of the first blogs I began reading when I first “found” blogging, and it’s one of the only blogs I’ve read consistently since then. I’ve always admired the down-to-earth, chatty tone of Smaggle. It’s never felt preachy and even when you started blogging for a living you didn’t jump up your own arse the way so many successful bloggers tend to. Eight years on and I still look forward to seeing what you’ve got on offer.

    And my favourite dance floor song will always be Smooth Criminal by Michael Jackson. Always.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      That’s so lovely of you! I just jumped over to your blog and I love the new direction you’ve taken it in. Just binge read your last few posts and I’ve learned so much. Awesome! 🙂

  14. Jess Carey 2 weeks ago

    Congratulations! Happy anniversary!!! 10 years is a HUGE achievement!!

    “10. Remember why you started ”
    YES!!! This is EVERYTHING!!! This is what I have to keep coming back to when I get that “what’s the point of writing this stuff, I don’t even think anything is reading it anymore.” But I didn’t start it for other people, I started blogging for ME, so I’ll keep doing it!

    And hi all – I’m Jess, from Melbourne, I can’t remember how I found Smaggle, but I know my mornings are always better when I start with one of Carly’s posts (I personally love the “stupid shit” so please keep writing those), and I’m a child of the 90s, so give me all the Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys and that crap for the dance floor!

    Also, love these round ups – I always discover so many great new blogs when you invite everyone to join the party!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 days ago

      Ha! ‘Stupid shit’. I think I need to add that has it’s own category. 🙂

  15. Judith Westhoff 2 weeks ago

    Name: Judith
    From: UK, but currently live in Switzerland
    Found Smaggle: I think through Straight and Curly
    Dance Floor Song: Boogie Oogie Oogie always got us on the dance floor when I was at Uni, which now seems like an eternity ago.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 days ago

      You know what? I don’t think I’ve heard of that song! Or maybe I have and I just didn’t realise that’s what it’s called.

  16. Vicki 1 week ago

    Vicki from Melbourne. I found your blog through Woogsworld but can’t remember how long ago. Quite a few years I know. I look forward to getting home from work and reading my few favourite blogs with a cuppa as I unwind. I agree with Missy D, if you don’t like a blog or opinion don’t read it ( I generally skip your productivity type posts). I enjoy the posts about what you are watching etc and have watched shows I probably wouldn’t have known about or considered.
    Dance song: ABBA, Eurythmics – Right by your side.
    Congratulations and keep on writing; it is like having a chat.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 5 days ago

      I love hearing the way people read blogs. That’s so nice picturing you sitting there sipping away on your cuppa. Love it. Yes to the skipping of the stuff you don’t like. I have blogger mates that have actual hate readers. It’s bizarre. Get a hobby for goodness sake! 🙂

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